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Vietnam health agency to thoroughly inspect Coca-Cola, PepsiCo

Thursday, December 10, 2015, 16:42 GMT+7
Vietnam health agency to thoroughly inspect Coca-Cola, PepsiCo

Four major beverage makers in Vietnam are expected to undergo a comprehensive inspection next year, the health inspectorate said Monday.

The health inspection department is seeking approval from the Ministry of Health on the list of firms to be under the radar in 2016, which include Coca-Cola Vietnam, Suntory PepsiCo Vietnam Beverage, Wonderfarm and URC Vietnam Co. Ltd.

URC Vietnam is the Vietnamese business of Universal Robina Corporation, one of the largest branded consumer food and beverage product companies in the Philippines. It is the maker of C2 bottled green tea and Rong Do energy drink.

Wonderfarm, known for such products as winter melon tea, passion fruit drink and bird nests, is one of the leading brands of the Interfood JSC, which is 80 percent owned by Japan’s Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd.

Coca-Cola Vietnam is expected to go under another probe over tax issues, with the Ho Chi Minh City tax department recommending last month that the General Department of Taxation put the soft drink giant under scrutiny for alleged transfer pricing.

The health inspection department did not disclose details of the proposed inspection, but it is likely meant to check the food safety practices of the companies.

If approved, the coming inspection will be the second of its kind the health inspectorate has ever launched.

Earlier this year, Ministry of Health inspectors conducted a month-long scrutiny at the plant of Tan Hiep Phat Group in the southern province of Binh Duong, following a fly-in-bottle dispute.

The company eventually passed the inspection without any severe violations detected, and appeared to have silently changed its name to Number 1 Group in September.

Tan Hiep Phat is the maker of such popular products as Number 1 energy drink and Dr Thanh herbal tea.

Vo Van Minh, a consumer from the southern province of Tien Giang, is expected to stand trial on criminal charges of “appropriating assets” on December 17.

Minh was indicted for demanding VND500 million ($23,300) from Tan Hiep Phat to buy his silence after he allegedly found a fly inside an unopened bottle of its energy drink earlier this year.


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